Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Lib Dems march for Europe

Lib Dems at start of March for EuropeEU nailsThousands of people across the UK Marched for Europe yesterday, with demonstrations in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge plus many more.

In London we put on a huge Lib Dem splash, with more than 300 Lib Dems joining us at the start in Marble Arch. An army of volunteers distributed placards, balloons and flyers. There were so many of us, police escorted us down to the main march on Park Lane!

President Sal Brinton fronted the march, leading a rally of Lib Dems from a banner at the front, flanked by Catherine Bearder MEP and Baroness Sarah Ludford as well as Parliamentary Candidate for St Albans Daisy Cooper and some of our Newbie members Ukonu Obasi and Elizabeth Barnard.

The march took on quite a pace, leading us down Picadilly and on to Trafalgur Square before ending at Parliament Square. Along the route we were chanting ‘We love you EU, we do’ and ‘We don’t want no Brexit’ with the use of a small megaphone and Bradley Hiller-Smith’s melodic tones! 

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Liberal Democrats must enthusiastically occupy the clear pro EU space – nobody else will

The Liberal Democrats have historically been enthusiastically pro EU. The strength of that enthusiasm, it’s fair to say, has not always been uniform. While a small number of Liberal Democrats campaigned to leave the EU, the vast majority of us wanted to remain. That was very clear to the tens of thousands who have joined us in the aftermath of the vote to leave.

As a party during the referendum, we did more than any other to campaign for a Remain vote. That’s quite a staggering achievement given our size and resources compared to the Labour party.

However, there are signs now that the consensus is starting to develop some fault lines. Our position in the aftermath of the referendum has been very clear. We campaign to stay or go back in to the EU at the next election. We want the voters to have their say on the Brexit deal. It’s only polite, really, given that they weren’t given any indication about what it would look like before they voted.

I don’t want to over-egg this particular pudding, but it looks like our general unity as a party on this is now under threat. Many Liberal Democrats  have been very concerned to see that Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg have endorsed Open Britain, the organisation formerly known as Britain Stronger in Europe.  Open Britain accepts the referendum result as final even though they also accept that nobody knows what they actually voted for. They will not be calling for a second referendum which seems to be a bizarre and contradictory stance to me.

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Farron: Lib Dems will take on the Tories and deliver the internationalist, economically competent, decent government that Britain deserves”

An article on the Times Red Box website examined the potential for a Liberal Democrat comeback following the EU Referendum.

I spoke to the journalist who wrote it, Natasha Clark, and may have compared Tim Farron to another Liberal leader from across the Atlantic:

They had a dynamic leader who made the case, harnessed the mood of the people with a very simple message. I think we will soon have a majority of people who don’t want to leave the EU, and we will be there to make that case.

Tim Farron was also interviewed and he had a right go at Theresa May:

Farron is, understandably, not a fan of any of either candidate for the Tory leadership, in particular the home secretary, who he slams for her inaction during the referendum campaign.

“Theresa May makes Jeremy Corbyn look like a grafter,” he jeered. “In the sense that she can step into the breach having done nothing to save the country… she may have had more of an impact than if Jeremy Corbyn did. The economy is going down the plughole because of that cowardice.”

In contrast, he made it clear what he and the Lib Dems have to offer:

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Farron: Lib Dems will champion right of EU citizens to stay in Britain

Tim Farron has set out why the Liberal Democrats will fight for those EU citizens who have made their homes in Britain to be allowed to stay post-Brexit.

Both David Cameron and Theresa May have only guaranteed their future to the conclusion of the negotiations. How awful, how unfair would it be if people who had settled, worked hard, married, had families here were forced to leave after the goalposts changed?

How cruel is it to put these people through years of uncertainty?

Tim said:

There is real, and legitimate, upset and worry from European citizens across our country about their long-term status in the UK. Liberal Democrats will not stand by whilst our communities are divided by uncertainty. Regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with Europe around Brexit, EU citizens who have made Britain their home must be allowed to stay.

To Europeans whose lives are now rooted in the UK my message is simple – the Liberal Democrats stand with you, and will speak for you. To the French family raising their children in Manchester, to the Polish mother working to pay her mortgage in Portsmouth, to the German graduate starting his business venture in Birmingham – the Liberal Democrats value you, we will stand by you and we will champion your future here in Britain.

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Liberal Democrats are being excluded from referendum debate – don’t put up with this

We Liberal Democrats are used to not getting our fair share of media attention. Since last year’s general election, that has got even worse. However, we still aren’t getting anything like the coverage we should have based on our size.

Research carried out by the University of Loughborough during the EU referendum campaign shows that we are only being included in 1% of both press and broadcast media. Mind you, the official opposition doesn’t fare that much better, although that has definitely changed in the last few days.

Coverage by party during EU Ref

 

If you were thinking that there was a gross over-representation of right wing men, the study confirms your instincts.

The debate is highly presidential in character, focussing on key individuals. The top six individuals are all right-of-centre and are all men. Despite concern expressed by left-of-centre and female politicians about media coverage it’s still largely a ‘Tory story’ and a male dominated, ‘blue-on-blue’ tale at that.

So who are the main media performers?

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How I am trying to improve diversity in the Liberal Democrats

In December 2015 the ‘Diversity Monitoring Group’ was created which consisted of five people passionate about ensuring progressive change is made to address diversity. Most people are aware that diversity needs to be addressed in the Liberal Democrats. Everyone has heard Tim Farron say ‘we are a male and pale party’. Instead of waiting to see what the Party will do next we’ve decided to create a member-led diversity survey.

The results of the survey have been shared with  Liberal Democrat Headquarters,  chairs of SAOs and AOs and some Federal Executive members.

How it happened

We created a set of questions, set up a Google form, and started publicising the survey, mostly across social media. The survey was shared on social media from December 2015 to February 2016.

The results show that we had 132 responses from Liberal Democrat members, all of who are anonymous. The main issues raised were: communication, party culture, gender equality and unconscious bias.

Questions include:

  • Are there specific areas in the party which you feel men and women are not treated equally?
  • Do you feel better guidance on equality and diversity (via training) could come from diversity team HQ and ALDC?
  • Do you have any more comments regarding the party’s understanding of equality and diversity?

Conclusions from the survey include:

  • The need to take into account accessibility when communicating with members.
  • Party culture  – the “misogyny and sexism” in the Party and the “need to be educated about gender issues eg unconscious bias”.
  • We have passed on specific feedback to diversity SAOs and AOs
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Liberal Democrats need to oppose this government with more passion and rage

Thank heaven we have had no major crises while our Government is weak and split. The lordly predecessors of the present set must have turned in their graves when Cabinet responsibility was temporarily abandoned, in defiance of historic practice. The ghosts should then have howled when leading Tories began to spit insults at each other and denounce the supposed lies of their colleagues.

Yet we are stuck with this Tory Government, in or out of the EU. This collection of sophisticated predators, who systematically promote the interests of their own kind and seek the further enrichment of the moneyed classes despite the deep inequalities in Britain, know how to survive.

Where was Iain Duncan Smith’s consciousness of his Government’s preferring tax cuts for the wealthy when poor and disabled people, hit by his benefit cuts, were struggling to survive? Those were the days when David Cameron’s response to Nick Clegg’s attempts to adjust the balance of taxation in favour of the poor was ‘But our donors wouldn’t like it’, and the reply to requests for more public housing was ‘It would only create more Labour voters’. Yet, only this year did Duncan Smith apparently find his conscience and notice that the parrot-cry of ‘We are all in this together’ was false.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 27th Sep - 1:45am
    Rebecca, Tim's speech and the webinar are not primary sources. Given it seems you are more familiar with this material and specifically the OECD report...
  • User AvatarManfarang 27th Sep - 1:10am
    Jayne “BJP workers have sacrificed their lives for the cause of democracy. Violence is not the right road to democracy. Ahuti must be discussed at...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th Sep - 12:53am
    Stevan I see your point in this , but my view is if those like you or I or any of us who have ever...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 27th Sep - 12:20am
    The problem is, Lorenzo, that you and I and 97% of this Party have no influence to insert radical elements, new ways of working and...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Sep - 11:33pm
    A lot of good sense in the words above from Tony H, Stevan Rose and Tim Hill, different though they are in views. My view...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Sep - 11:26pm
    Rebecca , very good to see you on here, you have not been regularly commenting , I liked your previous contributions and considerable knowledge on...